Closing Update: Stocks Hold on for Small Gains After February Jobs Report Surprise

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Stocks continued to grind higher Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 finishing the week with narrow gains after new data found U.S. employers unexpectedly added 175,000 new jobs in February. But more verbal saber-rattling by Russian President Vladimir Putin over Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula undermined larger gains for equities, with the Nasdaq Composite sliding underwater with tech stock sputtering throughout much of today's session.

Industry sectors in the S&P 500 were split between winners and losers, with shares of financial companies outpacing the broader market and other sectors. In addition to moderate declines for shares of technology companies today, shares of materials and mining stocks fell about 0.5% as a group.

U.S. non-farm payrolls expanded by 175,000 last month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, topping market expectations for a 150,000 rise. The nation's unemployment rate ticked higher to 6.7% from 6.6% in January due to an increase in new job-seekers rather than a rise in unemployed workers. The government also revised higher its reports for the prior two months, adding an extra 25,000 new worker than previously recorded.


Also today, the U.S. trade deficit widened slightly in January to $39.1 billion versus a $39.0 billion estimate. Exports and imports both increased 0.6%.

Industry sectors in the S&P 500 were split between winners and losers, with shares of financial companies outpacing the broader market and other sectors. In addition to moderate declines for shares of technology companies today, shares of materials and mining stocks fell about 0.5% as a group as gold and silver futures retreated in commodities trade.

Among other commodities Friday, Crude oil for April delivery settled $1.02 higher at $102.58 per barrel while April natural gas fell 4 cents to finish at $4.62 per 1 million BTU.

Here's where the markets stood at end-of-day:

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 30.83 (+0.19%) to 16,452.72

S&P 500 up 1.00 (+0.05%) to 1,878.03

Nasdaq Composite Index down 15.90 (-0.37%) to 4,336.22

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng Index down 0.19%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.08%

FTSE 100 Index down 1.12%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) SMSI, Q4 loss of $0.01 per share beats analyst expectations by $0.02. Revenue slips 1.9% from year-ago levels to $11.8 mln, in line with the Street view.

(+) SKUL, Non-GAAP earnings decline 72% from a year earlier to $0.13 per share but still beats Capital IQ consensus by $0.04. Revenue slides 28% year over year to $72.2 mln, edging out Street estimates by $400,000.

(+) COUP, Shares nearly doubled in value during the online promotions company's first day of public trading after it late yesterday priced its initial public offering of 10.5 million shares of common stock at $16.00 apiece - adding an extra 4 million shares to the offering and exceeding its anticipated price range by $3 a share.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) NVTL, Q4 loss of $0.16 per share, ex items, was $0.08 worse than Capital IQ consensus. Revenue declines 7.6% year over year to $65.3 mln, lagging estimates by $10.21 mln. Forecasts below-consensus Q1 revenue, wider Q1 net loss than Street view.

(-) FEYE, Prices follow-on public offering of 14 mln shares at $82 apiece - an 8.4% discount to Thursday's closing price for the stock.

(-) ALSK, Q4 EPS and revenue lag analyst forecasts, posting a $0.10 per share net loss, way off the consensus view looking for a $0.02 per share profit. Revenue missed the Street view by around 1%.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

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